Bless Nic Cage and his never ending supply of lunatic theories and philosophies. But the latest batch of Cage philosophy might be his best quote yet, as the uber-acting god explains how he got into character as the flame-headed Ghost Rider.
Thanks to a good supply of facepaint, trick contact lenses, and sewing magic trinkets into his jacket, this is how Cage became a creature from Hell.
In an open interview with Empire Magazine, the actor took questions from the internet. And it didn't take too long until his skull cracked open and we were able to swim inside the madness that is Cage's mind.
What were the biggest challenges physically or psychologically to perform both parts of John Blaze and Ghost Rider?
It was the first time that I played Ghost Rider. Blaze was easy; I knew he was a man who had been living with a curse for eight years of having his head light on fire, and the tone that would take. I compared him to a cop, or a paramedic who develops a dark sense of humour to cope with the horrors he has seen. But Blaze has also caused the horrors, so he's hiding out because he doesn't want to hurt anyone else.
Ghost Rider was an entirely new experience, and he got me thinking about something I read in a book called The Way Of Wyrd by Brian Bates, and he also wrote a book called The Way Of The Actor. He put forth the concept that all actors, whether they know it or not, stem from thousands of years ago – pre-Christian times – when they were the medicine men or shamans of the village. And these shamans, who by today's standards would be considered psychotic, were actually going into flights of the imagination and locating answers to problems within the village. They would use masks or rocks or some sort of magical object that had power to it.
It occurred to me, because I was doing a character as far out of our reference point as the spirit of vengeance, I could use these techniques. I would paint my face with black and white make up to look like a Afro-Caribbean icon called Baron Samedi, or an Afro-New Orleans icon who is also called Baron Saturday. He is a spirit of death but he loves children; he's very lustful, so he's a conflict in forces. And I would put black contact lenses in my eyes so that you could see no white and no pupil, so I would look more like a skull or a white shark on attack.
On my costume, my leather jacket, I would sew in ancient, thousands-of-years-old Egyptian relics, and gather bits of tourmaline and onyx and would stuff them in my pockets to gather these energies together and shock my imagination into believing that I was augmented in some way by them, or in contact with ancient ghosts. I would walk on the set looking like this, loaded with all these magical trinkets, and I wouldn't say a word to my co-stars or crew or directors. I saw the fear in their eyes, and it was like oxygen to a forest fire. I believed I was the Ghost Rider.
But wait — amongst the magic talk Cage, has a brilliant idea.
Is there any character you'd like to revisit? Do you ever wonder what happened next to Stanley Goodspeed or Cameron Poe?
I would like to hook up with one of the great Japanese filmmakers, like the master that made Ringu, and I would like to take The Wicker Man to Japan, except this time he's a ghost.
A Bee Mouth Ghost! Brilliant idea. Make it happen, Hollywood.